Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 News
The City of Fort Worth is cleaning up an illegal dump site created by two property owners and a city contractor after debris nearly hit Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church.
The city of Fort Worth is cleaning up an illegal dump site left by two property owners and a city contractor.
The site was discovered after debris nearly hit a church at Northwest 21st Street and Jacksboro Highway.
Debris in late August rolled down the hill and alerted parishioners at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church.
"I walked over and looked up the hill and saw concrete boulders with rebar sticking out," parishioner Ellyn Ponton said. "I saw mattresses, I saw the blue cooler and I realized, 'This is not right.'"
City officials told the culprits to stop immediately.
An informal report to the City Council said Laughley Bridge and Construction Inc., which was working on a city storm water project about a half mile away, was depositing what is called soiled material behind several houses on Terrace Avenue. The report said the illegal fill and dump site "presented an urgent risk to health and safety."
A city official said the property owners approved the dumping of material to add to their property and extend their backyards.
It's not clear how long the illegal dumping of materials was going on, but the hill behind the church featured old computer monitors, plastic containers and other debris items.
The property owners will face municipal court citations for an illegal dump site and illegal fill. In the city of Fort Worth, a permit is required to add fill on property.
The informal report said Laughley did not respond quickly enough to remedy the illegal site, so the city hired a different contractor to get the issue fixed immediately. The city placed concrete barriers at the base of the hill behind the church during the excavation to prevent any damage, something parishioners said they appreciate.
"The city, they have been marvelous with their response and their concern for the church," Ponton said.
"The last thing we want is a heavy rain that makes that debris fall down the hill, so it's important that we address that immediately," city spokesman Jason Lamers said.
More than 100 truck loads of the debris has already been removed, but the city isn't sure of the final cost. But the city said Laughley or its insurance company would pay that cost.
"We expect to recover all the costs for doing that," Lamers said.
The city expects the work to be completed in a few weeks, and the church hopes the barriers will be gone in time for its Greek Food Festival Nov. 11-13.
"We're just optimistic," Ponton said.
It's unclear what kind of standing Laughley has with the city after the incident, but the company is expected to finish the storm water project just east of Northside Park.